TPM News

Michael Brown, the former head of FEMA much excoriated for the agency's response to Hurricane Katrina, reportedly has a deal to become a talk radio host in Denver.

According to Denver Westword, Brown will host a show on KOA in a primetime slot, from 7 to 10 p.m. weeknights.

Brown told the blog he'll resist jumping on the media bandwagon when someone in the news is painted as a villain, offering an "objective point of view."

"I've been loved and hated by the media," he said. "So when something comes up and everyone is saying, 'This is outrageous!,' what better person to be able to say, 'Let's wait a second and look at what else might be going on.'"

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The White House had no contingency plan for health care reform if Democrat Martha Coakley lost the special election in Massachusetts, and officials did not discuss the possibility a Democratic loss would dramatically imperil their legislative efforts, a top adviser said today.

President Obama's senior advisor David Axelrod said there "wasn't much discussion" about an alternative path to passing health care with just 59 Democrats in the Senate because there was "widespread assumption was that that seat was safe."

"The truth is the flares went up about 10 days before that election," Axelrod said during a briefing today with reporters and opinion-makers.

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Sen. Mary Landrieu is blasting the men charged with tampering with the phones at her New Orleans office, dismissing a new explanation from the attorney of one of the men as "feeble."

"Senator Landrieu believes this feeble explanation is a clear and calculated effort to divert attention away from the fact that his client stands accused of a federal crime that could land him in prison for up to 10 years," said Landrieu Press Secretary Rob Sawicki, in a statement to TPMmuckraker.

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I just spoke with James Bopp Jr., the Republican National Committee member from Indiana who is sponsoring two key resolutions to prevent RNC funding from going to insufficiently conservative candidates. He says he is still reviewing his options headed into today's meeting of the resolutions committee, and tomorrow's full session of the RNC's winter meeting in Hawaii.

Bopp's main resolution, to forbid RNC funding for candidates who do not show that they hold conservative positions on at least eight out of ten key issues, suffered two setbacks yesterday. A committee of state party chairmen voted against it, and RNC Chairman Michael Steele came out against it. Bopp is simultaneously pursuing that resolution as well as a simpler one, which would expressly empower the RNC chairman to consider ideology as a factor in sending money to candidates.

"Well, I'm glad to know what his [Steele's] position is," Bopp told me, "And I still look forward to coming up with some approach that ensures accountability. I mean, we have two resolutions that deal with that issue, and hopefully one of them will win. I expect one of them will win."

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Tension between two Congressional ethics bodies boiled over today in connection to an investigation of a California congressman.

The House Ethics committee announced that it had voted unanimously to dismiss a probe into whether Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) improperly took advantage of a tax break for Maryland homeowners.

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The attorney for accused phone tamperer Robert Flanagan tells the AP that Flanagan, James O'Keefe, and co. were trying to expose Sen. Mary Landrieu for allegedly ignoring phone calls from health reform foes.

The comments from Attorney Garrison Jordan are partly in line with the theory we outlined earlier -- that the alleged plot arose from complaints that Landrieu's staff were not responding to constituents' calls.

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If you've ever laid awake at night, haunted by the due date for your master's thesis, you probably think President Obama's doing a good job. That's the finding of a new report by Gallup out today.

Over the past month, only people with some post graduate education have given Obama a steady approval rating of above 50%, Gallup found. Obama's standing among those with academic hoods collecting dust in their closets averaged 58% over the month. Among those who went out and got a real job after graduating college, his approval rating In the opening weeks of the year was 49%. High school graduates gave Obama a 50% approval.

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MSNBC's David Shuster just battled with Big Government's Andrew Breitbart on-air over the arrest of James O'Keefe and friends for allegedly trying to tamper with the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office.

Shuster has been covering the story on location from New Orleans. Breitbart has ties to O'Keefe, having posted the latter's ACORN sting videos on his web site and paying him as a contributor. (Breitbart maintains he was not involved in what happened at Landrieu's office and has no knowledge of it beyond what's been reported in the news.)

Breitbart attacked Shuster and MSNBC for "slandering" O'Keefe by saying he had wiretapped Landrieu's phones and demanded Shuster retract the wiretapping claim, which he did. He also attacked Shuster for tweeting that O'Keefe "intended to tap [Landrieu's] phones."

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is facing his lowest public approval ratings in his home state since 1994, according to the new Rocky Mountain Poll. The last time he faced approval ratings as bad as the ones released to today was in the aftermath of the Keating Five scandal, when McCain had to rebuild trust with voters in his home state.

Just 40% of Arizonans approve of the job McCain is doing for them in D.C., according to the poll. In January of 2006, that number was 60%. It's not clear how much of an impact the tanking numbers will have on McCain's primary battle with conservative J.D. Hayworth. McCain does better with Republicans than he does with the rest of the state. He's got a 52% approval rating among the GOP.

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